On this week’s edition of Blazer’s Edge Radio, the first two games of Trevor Ariza’s tenure in Portland were a major topic of discussion. Ariza, acquired from the Sacramento Kings for Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver, immediately made an impact in Rip City—scoring a season-high 21 points in his Blazers debut against the Dallas Mavericks last Thursday. While he couldn’t replicate that level of success against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, he nonetheless played an important role in the victory.
Albeit in an extremely small sample size, the 34-year-old Ariza has shown to be a significant upgrade offensively to Bazemore, who was never able to find a rhythm on that end of the floor this season. Additionally, he’s rounded out a starting lineup that hasn’t received consistent production out of the small forward spot since Rodney Hood’s injury nearly two months ago.
If the last two games are any indication, Ariza’s arrival gives Portland’s playoff hopes a much-needed shot in the arm. While the team’s continued overall defensive struggles and poor bench production remain significant issues, Ariza at least gives the team a formidable starting five with enough offensive firepower to help mask the inefficiencies on defense and lack of depth.
With a brutal stretch of games on the horizon, we’ll soon learn more about how the re-tooled Blazers stack up against the top teams in the Western Conference as they make their push for a seventh consecutive playoff berth.
Catch an archived version of this week’s show here.
Tune in to Blazer’s Edge Radio LIVE every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. PT during the NBA season on XRAY FM. The show can be accessed at 107.1 FM in the Portland metro area, as well as worldwide on xray.fm.